Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pick a Path


From an art installation in New York City.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Two Women


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2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards - The Winners

Here are last night's winners:

MOVIES

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Hidden Figures

Captain Fantastic
Fences
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture

Denzel Washington, Fences

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture

Emma Stone, La La Land

Amy Adams, Arrival
Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Viola Davis, Fences

Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Hacksaw Ridge

Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
Jason Bourne
Nocturnal Animals

TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

Stranger Things

The Crown
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Westworld

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Orange is the New Black

The Big Bang Theory
black-ish
Modern Family
Veep

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series

Bryan Cranston, All the Way

Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
John Turturro, The Night Of
Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in Television Movie or Miniseries

Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Bryce Dallas Howard, Black Mirror
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

William H. Macy, Shameless

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actress in a Comedy Series

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

John Lithgow, The Crown

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Claire Foy, The Crown

Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Thandie Newton, Westworld
Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

Game of Thrones

Marvel's Daredevil
Marvel's Luke Cage
The Walking Dead
Westworld

53RD ANNUAL SAG LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Lily Tomlin

Saturday, January 28, 2017

In Memoriam

John Hurt (January 22, 1940 - January 27, 2017)


Twice nominated for an Academy Award (for The Elephant Man and Midnight Express), John Hurt was an excellent actor whose work I appreciated in many movies, like V for Vendetta, Hellboy, Snowpiercer, and of course Alien.

He was great at playing scary, sad, or profound, all traits he put to good use during a career that spanned 6 decades!

RIP

Friday, January 27, 2017

Mirrors


A view of Waterbury's Palace Theater's main foyer.

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

2016 Movies Tally = 91


I again forgot to post the overall list of movies I watched last year, so here it is:

10
Inside Out
The Martian
9
Boy & the World
Carol
Guardians of the Galaxy
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Mad Max: Fury Road
Room
The Avengers
The Big Short
The Revenant
8
7
6
5
4

Another great year of movie-watching, with 42 titles scoring 8 and above (and 74 with 7 and up!!) and only 5 below par.

I love watching movies and I also religiously watch the Oscars' and the Golden Globes' telecasts, which presumably pick the best among the previous year's crop. So now, I've started a new habit of watching all the movies nominated in the top categories (picture, acting, directing, writing, and animated -- I also will pick some from the foreign and documentary ones).

I already completed 2015 and 2014 and I've noticed an uptick in the quality of movies I watch. Likely, because it's pretty hard to go wrong when selecting from such a curated list of titles.

I'll of course still pick movies I want to watch for various personal reasons, but I have so far really enjoyed being exposed to some titles I would otherwise have overlooked (such as The Hateful Eight and Straight Outta Compton).

Anyway, my top 5 movies from 2016 were:
Inside Out
Boy & the World
The Martian
Room
The Danish Girl
And my personal winner is The Martian.

Admiración


What gets left behind when businesses close up and are abandoned.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Nocturnal Animals

The Gist: A visibly unsatisfied gallery owner receives a copy of her estranged ex-husband's new novel. The story is raw and violent, and triggers a resurgence of painful memories.

Nocturnal Animals is Tom Ford's second movie (after A Single Man), and it's two for two as far as I'm concerned. He's a talented director, able to craft visually appealing films, and capable of extracting powerful performances from his actors.

He also wrote both of his cinematic efforts, but while I thoroughly enjoyed his first script, this time something was amiss.

Don't get me wrong, the story is gripping and sometimes even too much so (the scene with the cars at night was so tense that I felt physical discomfort, something that rarely occurs to me). You certainly won't be bored, and yet, something feels incomplete about it. Perhaps it's a couple holes in the screenplay, or maybe just a feeling of sterility, but it ultimately affected the final grade.

Amy AdamsJake GyllenhaalMichael ShannonAaron Taylor-Johnson, and even Armie Hammer all deliver solid performances. Laura Linney, in a small cameo, is impeccable.

The Bottom Line: If you enjoy thrillers, I would definitely recommend this one. Be forewarned that it's very intense at times, but it's definitely worth checking out.

Grade: 7

In Memoriam

Mary Tyler Moore (December 29, 1936 – January 25, 2017)


Academy Award nominee, three times Golden Globe winner, and six times Emmy winner Mary Tyler Moore has passed away.

Her indelible performance as the lead in her hit sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" brought her unending fame, which she used to help define a new vision of womanhood.

She had just turned 80 years old.

In Memoriam

Miguel José Ferrer (February 7, 1955 – January 19, 2017)


A very prolific actor (IMDb lists 123 credits to his name), he never made it to the big leagues, but somehow I doubt that bothered him.

He was always great, in any part I've ever seen him play, and he had a gravitas about him that made him likable even when he played the bad guy, which was often...

Cancer took him just shy of his 62nd birthday.

RIP

In Memoriam

Debbie Reynolds (April 1, 1932 – December 28, 2016)



Unable to bear the loss of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, just a day prior, Reynolds literally died of a broken heart.

She rose to fame with Singin' in the Rain and also starred in How the West Was Won and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, for which she received her lone Oscar nomination.

I mostly remember her for playing Grace's mom in Will & Grace.

RIP

In Memoriam

Carrie Fisher (October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016)



After suffering a massive heart attack, she never really recovered, and died a few days later.

Fisher rose to fame by playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, but she was born into Hollywood royalty, being the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher.

She had a great sense of humor and was a good writer as well, able to be self-deprecating like few others can.

Gone too soon.

In Memoriam

George Michael (25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016)


I know it's quite late, but it didn't feel right letting this death go by without penning it in.

I always liked Michael. His voice was unique, really soothing, and his songs were great. You could dance to them, and you could cry to them. He was a really great artist.

He passed away a month ago today at age 53. What an unexpected loss.

RIP

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The 89th Academy Awards - The Nominations

The nominations for this year's Oscars were just announced. The ceremony will take place on February 26, at 8 pm, on ABC, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

La La Land garnered 14 nominations, tying the record set by Titanic and All About Eve. Arrival and Moonlight each got 8 nominations, while 6 apiece went to Hacksaw Ridge, Lion, and Manchester by the Sea. The latter, an Amazon Studios production, marks the first time a streaming service's film landed a Best Picture Oscar nomination.

Seven out of the available 20 performances went to non-white actors, all but ensuring a ceremony free of controversy regarding racial discrimination.

Oh, and Meryl Streep earned her 20th Oscar nomination, extending her record as the most nominated performer in the history of the Academy.

Here are this year's contenders:

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Best Achievement in Directing

Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Luke Davies, Lion
Eric Heisserer, Arrival
Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight
Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures
August Wilson, Fences

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou, The Lobster
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Mike Mills, 20th Century Women
Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini (Ma vie de Courgette)
The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge)
Zootopia

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Tanna
A Man Called Ove (En man som heter Ove)
The Salesman (Forushande)
Toni Erdmann
Land of Mine (Under sandet)

Best Documentary, Feature

13th
Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare)
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Nicholas Britell, Moonlight
Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
Mica Levi, Jackie
Thomas Newman, Passengers
Dustin O'Halloran, Lion

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

"Audition (The Fools Who Dream)," La La Land, Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
"Can't Stop the Feeling," Trolls, Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Shellback
"City of Stars," La La Land, Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
"The Empty Chair," Jim: The James Foley Story, J. Ralph, Sting
"How Far I'll Go," Moana, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Best Achievement in Editing

Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

Best Achievement in Production Design

Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Passengers

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

13 Hours
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

A Man Called Ove (En man som heter Ove)
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

Best Short Film, Live Action

Ennemis intérieurs
La femme et le TGV
Mindenki
Silent Nights
Timecode

Best Documentary, Short Subject

4.1 Miles
Extremis
Joe's Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

Best Short Film, Animated

Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The 74th Golden Globes Ceremony

Yes, I know, the ceremony was 3 whole days ago, but I was super busy finishing up putting together my 2016 coffee table photo book, and only now do I have the time to take a breath!

Anyway, I thought the ceremony was really nice. Funny, touching, and fast paced, perhaps even too much so, given how many speeches were cut short... including the one for one of the top two prizes of the night (Best Comedy or Musical)!!!!

Here are a few random thoughts about it:

  • Jimmy Fallon did a nice job with his opening monologue, but then practically disappeared. It felt like he played it really safe, like he didn't want to offend anyone in the industry. He really only went after O.J. Simpson, who is the easiest target there is.
  • I noticed that over-tanning is unfortunately still fashionable in Hollywood, with both Ryan Reynolds and Thandie Newton falling victims to it.
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson's win for Nocturnal Animals was the night's first surprise, but to me hearing his lovely accent was even more so!
  • I was super happy that Sarah Paulson won for her portrayal of Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. She had previously won an Emmy for the same role, so a Golden Globe is the perfect bookend.
  • The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story also won for the Best Limited Series, and the coolest part was hearing the woman on stage thank "her wife" with total nonchalance.
  • I don't watch Black-ish, but I think Tracee Ellis Ross' win was great for diversity, even though she beat my beloved Julia Louis-Dreyfus...
  • Hugh Laurie's win for The Night Manager was another surprise, but from what followed later on it's clear that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association really LOVED the show, since all its actors won in their categories (though the show itself didn't).
  • Super happy for Viola Davis' win as well. Is this the year she takes home the Oscar as well?
  • Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn's bit on stage was one for the ages. I was doubled over. It was followed soon after by another very funny skit, with Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell. I can't believe they were able to keep a straight face!!
  • One of the producers of Zootopia, again with total nonchalance, thanked "his husband of 28 years!!"
  • Ryan Gosling's speech was nice and touching, especially for his late brother-in-law.
  • Can't wait to see how La La Land does at the Oscars next month, given the clean sweep it did at the Globes. It won a record 7 statuettes for Film, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay, Score, and Song (though the last two would have been a minimum given that this is a musical, wouldn't it?).
  • Was there a hotter couple of presenters than Chris Hemsworth and Gal Gadot? No. There wasn't.
  • When it was time to award the Best TV Show Drama, I obviously was rooting for Game of Thrones, but when I heard Westworld I realized they'd have split the vote, and The Crown (given the topic and the foreign pedigree) would be a shoo-in. It was. I really should watch it. I'm sure I'd love it.
  • Viola Davis' introduction of Meryl Streep for her Honorary Award was lovely and obviously Meryl delivered the best speech of the night. She said everything that needed to be said, with the right amount of emphasis and verve. She's magnificent. A real national treasure.
  • As much as I'm glad for what it meant for diversity, I was totally bummed when Atlanta won Best TV Show Comedy and Best Actor, because I really wanted Jeffrey Tambor and Transparent to win, or Veep. Oh well.
  • Loved how Matt Damon took one last chance to needle the HFPA about putting his dramatic role in the dramatic The Martian in the Comedy categories last year, just so they could make them both win.
  • I'm not sure why, but I find it really cool that Casey Affleck is being recognized for his talent (in spite of what looked like all of his efforts). I think Ben Affleck is really talented too, even though his work can be really uneven, so I find it cool that talent runs in the family.
  • Loved how awestruck Isabelle Huppert was when she won Best Lead Actress Drama for Elle. It's really nice when foreign films and the people who make them are recognized at such high levels (even though these aren't the Oscars of course...).
  • Finally, I can't wait to see Moonlight. It must be a great movie and I'm glad it won Best Drama, especially because of the story it tells and the African-American pedigree (and the fact that it's such a small, independently made movie).
Ok, that's it, sorry it took so long to get this out. Hope you enjoyed the ceremony as much as I did.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

2017 Golden Globe Awards - The Winners

Here are the winners of this year's Golden Globes. My comments on the ceremony will follow tomorrow!


Best Motion Picture - Drama

Moonlight

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Lion
Manchester by the Sea

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

La La Land

20th Century Women
Deadpool
Florence Foster Jenkins
Sing Street

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Joel Edgerton, Loving
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Amy Adams, Arrival
Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Colin Farrell, The Lobster
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Jonah Hill, War Dogs
Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

Emma Stone, La La Land

Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Lily Collins, Rules Don't Apply
Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins
Dev Patel, Lion

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Viola Davis, Fences

Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Best Director - Motion Picture

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Best Original Screenplay - Motion Picture

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

Best Original Score - Motion Picture

Justin Hurwitz, La La Land

Jóhann Jóhannsson, Arrival
Hans Zimmer , Pharrell Williams , Benjamin Wallfisch, Hidden Figures
Dustin O'Halloran , Volker Bertelmann, Lion
Nicholas Britell, Moonlight

Best Original Song - Motion Picture

"City of Stars", La La Land

"Gold", Gold
"How Far I'll Go", Moana
"Faith", Sing
"Can't Stop the Feeling", Trolls

Best Motion Picture - Animated

Zootopia

Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini (Ma vie de Courgette)
Sing

Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language

Elle

Divines
Neruda
The Salesman (Forushande)
Toni Erdmann

Best Television Series - Drama

The Crown

Game of Thrones
Stranger Things
This Is Us
Westworld

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy

Atlanta

Black-ish
Mozart in the Jungle
Transparent
Veep

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

American Crime
The Dresser
The Night Manager
The Night Of

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama

Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath

Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama

Claire Foy, The Crown

Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Keri Russell, The Americans
Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy

Donald Glover, Atlanta

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Gael García Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Nick Nolte, Graves
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy

Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
Issa Rae, Insecure
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager

Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
John Turturro, The Night Of
Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
Charlotte Rampling, London Spy
Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager

Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
John Lithgow, The Crown
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
John Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Olivia Colman, The Night Manager

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Thandie Newton, Westworld